Okay, before y'all think of me as Jack Dawkins, The Artful Dodger in "Oliver", let me clarify a few things:
1. My uncles and I never stole for re-sale. We only stole food, and only if we had to, okay, because there were times when we didn't have to and there was plenty to eat.
The law of averages will catch up with a thief sooner or later, right?
2. We never conned anyone out of anything. Didn't have to - times were tough all the way around in Communist-Occupied East Germany, and no one had anything to be conned out of them anyway.
In short, we asked first (begged, as I wrote) and then did what we needed to do.
3. Did we know it was wrong?
Well hell YEAH we did! And we also got caught! Mostly stealing eggs out of a farmer's hen house or cabbages and asparagus from his fields.
Were we arrested?
No, there wouldn't have been room to hold us all, since it was so prevalent in those times.
What did happen is that the "victim" had the right to conscript us into service as farm-hands (sometimes every day for a week - sometimes as long as a month), but that wasn't really a bad thing: We were fed three hot meals a day and were given food to take home as well.
Things had a way of working out.
4. Did my Oma know we were stealing food?
Yeah, of course she did, but she never mentioned it, and just found it on the table and cooked it for us - "The Good Lord Will Provide" - kinda thing.
5. Were we happy living that way?
We sure weren't all tore up over it, so I guess we were - me and my 4 uncles (and Christa - who had her own way of obtaining things - *wink-wink*, *nudge-nudge*, *say no more*.)
Yes, me and my uncles and aunt and Oma had some happy times together, even amidst all the poverty. We never had much, you see, so we didn't miss it.
I still remember the first time I ever drank a Coca-Cola.
One of Christa's many boyfriends (Russian soldiers), brought us all one bottle, and we all took turns passing it around!
Oh. My. God. I had never in my life tasted anything so sweet and good, and that feeling has stayed with me into my adult years. To this day, I love drinking Coca-Cola out of those little swirly-shaped bottles. I close my eyes and remember that very first time, and I just throw my head back and drink - knowing there'll be more where that came from and I won't have to beg for it.
6. "The Biggie" - If I had to, would I do it again?
The Answer: I hope I wouldn't have to, but yep, damn right I would. I didn't lose those skills, you know. ;) (and I never grew up!)
Here's Jack and Company:
Thanks and enjoy your day!